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A Quick Starter
GitHub Copilot is a new AI-powered tool that helps developers write faster and more accurate code. It works by learning from your code style and preferences and suggesting code completions and other helpful hints.
GitHub Copilot is still in beta, but thousands of developers have already used it. And the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Developers are reporting that GitHub Copilot can save them hours and has helped them write better code.
How does GitHub Copilot work?
GitHub Copilot utilizes OpenAI’s Codex language model, a large language model trained on a massive code dataset. When you start coding, GitHub Copilot will learn your coding style and preferences. It will also begin to learn the different programming languages that you use.
As you type, GitHub Copilot will suggest code completions. These suggestions can be anything from simple keywords to entire functions. You can accept or reject these suggestions, and GitHub Copilot will continue to learn from your feedback.
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What can GitHub Copilot do?
- Write code completions
- Suggest functions and methods
- Provide documentation for code
- Help you to find and fix bugs
- Suggest new features and improvements
What advantages does GitHub Copilot offer?
• Save time: GitHub Copilot can save you hours by suggesting code completions and other helpful hints.
• Improve your code quality: GitHub Copilot helps you to write better code with more idiomatic and efficient suggestions.
• Be more productive: GitHub Copilot can help you to be more productive by freeing up your time to focus on other tasks.
• Be more creative: GitHub Copilot can help you to be more creative by suggesting new ideas and approaches to coding problems.
• Have more fun coding: GitHub Copilot can make coding more fun by taking some of the tedium out of the process.
Eager to Test the Water with GitHub Copilot?
If you’re a developer, I highly recommend checking out GitHub Copilot and taking your coding skills to the next level.
To get started with GitHub Copilot, you will need to:
- Create a GitHub account:
- Enable GitHub Copilot:
- After signing in, go to the “Settings” section.
- The Copilot page is under the “Code, planning, and Automation” section.
- To get started, you can go ahead with the 30-day free trial. After that, GitHub Copilot costs $10 per month or $100 per year for individuals and $19 per user monthly for Businesses.
- After selecting the plan, enter your billing information and payment details.
- When you sign up for GitHub Copilot, you can choose whether to receive suggestions matching public code. You can also decide whether you want to submit your own code snippets for product improvements. Both options are optional.
- Select your preferences, then click Save and get started.
- Install the GitHub Copilot extension.
- Open VS Code on your computer.
- Go to View and open the Extensions. You can also open Extensions by pressing Ctrl+Shift+X (Windows/Linux) or Cmd+Shift+X (Mac).
- In the Extensions view, you’ll find a search box. Enter the “GitHub Copilot.”
- On the extension’s details page, click the “Install” button. VS Code will start the installation process.
- The installation progress appears in the lower-right corner of the VS Code window. Once the installation is complete, you’ll see a notification.
- Sign in to GitHub Copilot
- When you open the GitHub Copilot extension for the first time, you get a prompt to sign in to your GitHub account.
- Enable or disable GitHub Copilot
- The status icon of GitHub Copilot, situated in the bottom panel of Visual Studio Code, indicates whether it is currently enabled or disabled.
- When GitHub Copilot is enabled, the icon will be in highlighted mode.
- You can click on the same icon to disable it. When it is disabled, the icon appears greyed out.
- When you choose to disable GitHub Copilot, you will receive a prompt to specify whether you want to disable it globally or only for the specific language of the file you are currently editing. To disable it globally, click the “Disable Completions” option.
- Start coding!
After installing the extension, GitHub Copilot should automatically start working as you type in your code editor. It will analyze the code you’re writing and provide intelligent suggestions and completions to help you write code faster.
How to use GitHub Copilot's suggestions?
As you start typing, GitHub Copilot will display suggestions based on the context of your code.
- Accept a suggestion:
As you can see in the image, you can accept the entire suggestion by pressing the “Tab” key or using the “Ctrl + RightArrow” keys to accept the word.
- Dismiss a suggestion:
Pressing your keyboard’s “Esc” key will dismiss the current suggestion without accepting it. After dismissing the suggestion, you can continue writing your code as usual. GitHub Copilot will continue to provide recommendations based on your ongoing code input.
If you simply continue typing your code, GitHub Copilot will recognize that you have ignored the suggestion and won’t insert it.
- Toggle between suggestions:
You can conveniently navigate through the suggestions provided by GitHub Copilot, allowing you to select the most appropriate ones for your code as you continue coding in your editor.
As you can see in the image, there are two inline code suggestions. You can press “Alt + [” to see the next inline suggestion and “Alt + ]” to see the previous inline suggestion.
GitHub Copilot generates code based on patterns and examples from publicly available code. While the suggestions can be helpful, reviewing and modifying the generated code to fit your specific needs is essential. Ensure understanding of the code generated by Copilot and verify its correctness and adherence to best practices.
- Iterate and refine:
GitHub Copilot will adapt to your coding style and provide more accurate suggestions as you continue coding as it keeps learning. Keep using Copilot’s suggestions, modifying the code as needed, and reviewing the generated code to refine and improve your coding workflow.
- Provide feedback:
GitHub Copilot is an AI-powered tool that is continually learning and improving. If you encounter any issues or have suggestions for enhancements, consider providing feedback to the GitHub Copilot team. This can help improve the tool’s performance and accuracy in the future.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with GitHub Copilot. The more you use it, the more you’ll learn about what it can do. I hope you enjoy using GitHub Copilot!
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